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Nancy Baker Cahill’s new public augmented reality (AR) project, “Liberty Bell,” is now being presented in six cities across the US—Boston, Charleston, Philadelphia, Rockaway, Selma, and Washington, DC. Viewable indefinitely on the artist’s 4th Wall app, the work is a monumental AR creation offering a thought-provoking narrative on our country’s notions of freedom.
“You can’t have a conversation about freedom and not talk about the history of slavery and inequality in the United States,” said Baker Cahill. “A bell can be a warning or a celebration; something spiritual or a wordless means of communication. In an age of pandemic, surveillance, injustice, and disinformation, who is actually free? That’s the conversation we need to have.”
Commissioned by the Art Production Fund (APF) in collaboration with 7G Foundation and Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, the moving virtual artwork that is viewed through a smartphone or tablet. “Liberty Bell” is accompanied by a diverse soundscape pieced together from historical moments and locations, including a morphos soundtrack of analog and synthetic rhythms and melodies.
Deliberately introduced on July 4, tolling bells sounds and textured red, white, and blue markings come together to create “Liberty Bell.” Baker Cahill invites viewers to consider the complex dualities of American freedom and the concerning injustices that lie within our democracy—like inequality and systemic racism.
“While adhering to social distancing guidelines, it feels crucial to bring this important artwork safely to the public,” said Casey Fremont, executive director of APF. “Through a visual and sonic AR experience, Baker Cahill gives viewers the opportunity to reflect upon their personal experiences of liberty, freedom, injustice and inequality. We are honored to present this poignant work during such a remarkable time.”